A friend recently told me the next time he hired someone he would explain that the secret to their longevity in his employ was to “act like it is 1950.” “Anything that could have gotten you fired in 1950 will be due cause for me to fire you today.” In 1950 there was no email or text messaging to distract from work during business hours, standards of conduct were higher and scrutiny of performance was tougher.
He was only half joking. Like many employers, he was nostalgic for an earlier work ethic. 1950 wasn’t perfect by any means–every epoch has mixed benefits and negatives–but I think most of us can relate to his thinking. My friend has high standards and low tolerance like the 1950’s exemplified, so he wanted his employees to behave similarly.
If every employee on your team had the same standards of conduct and professionalism as you, would it be a dream come true or a nightmare? Of course the strength of a team is the diversity of team members, but in this case I’m talking about standards of conduct, not differences in skills and abilities.
As an employer or employee, we can better serve and be better served ourselves if we start with an honest evaluation of our own workplace habits and performance. We can’t control others (that’s why it is called “leadership” and not “controllership”) but we can control ourselves. Why not strive to be a dream employee or employer rather than somebody’s nightmare?